Léognan, 27 May 2019 – A look back at the superb Vinexpo Welcome Dinner of the Crus Classés de Graves organized on 12 May at Château Malartic-Lagravière, for the opening of the 20st edition of Vinexpo Bordeaux, with three-star chef Arnaud Lallement, from the Assiette Champenoise near Reims.
Alfred and Michèle Bonnie, and their children Véronique and Jean-Jacques, had the honour of hosting the traditional Crus Classés de Graves Vinexpo Welcome Dinner on Sunday 12 May 2019. This magnificent event, which celebrates the opening of Vinexpo Bordeaux 2019, gave the President of the Union of the Crus Classés de Graves, Jean-Jacques Bonnie, an opportunity to welcome, alongside all the members of the Crus Classés de Graves, their 400 guests, consisting of French and international customers, major decision-makers and professionals from all over the world.
Accompanied by Christophe Navarre, the President of Vinexpo, and in the presence of Alain Rousset, the President of the Council of Nouvelle Aquitaine, and Nathalie Delattre, Senator for Gironde, responsible for winegrowing, the evening was a celebration of French excellence.
The evening began in splendid sunshine with a tasting in Malartic’s restored Old Winery – Les Vieux Chais -, overlooking the Château, of two superb Crus Classés de Graves vintages: the 2015 red and the 2016 white.
At 8pm, dinner was served in Malartic’s magnificent chai, where the red wines are made, with a plant decoration for the occasion, contributing to the enchanting atmosphere.
Jean-Jacques Bonnie, in his capacity as President of the Union of the Crus Classés de Graves, recalled in his speech that the Union has been holding these dinners for the opening of Vinexpo since 30 years, and is now delighted to inaugurate the 20th edition of Vinexpo Bordeaux, in the presence of 400 guests, of whom nearly half came from abroad. Christophe Navarre also stressed the importance of the links between Bordeaux winegrowers and Vinexpo, and saluted the excellence of their wines and of French gastronomy.
The superb 4-course menu, prepared by 3-star chef Arnaud Lallement, cooking for the first time in Bordeaux, was specially designed to be paired with Crus Classés de Graves wines: A sublime haddock jelly with Kaviari Kristal caviar was served with some very fine white wines, including an outstanding Malartic 2010.
Chef Lallement’s signature dish, “Blue Lobster, in homage to my father”, served with the Malartic 1999 red was a heavenly combination: this dish was created as a tribute to Arnaud’s father, the founder of L’Assiette Champenoise, and chosen by the Bonnies to accompany their 1999 Red.
A magnificent combination, that was given a special poignancy by the announcement during the evening that Alfred and Michèle Bonnie were officially handing over the reins to their children Véronique and Jean-Jacques. It was a beautiful, touching family scene as all four shared the stage. Many remember the evening organized in Malartic by Alfred and Michèle for the 10th edition of Vinexpo in 1999. 20 years later, they passed the relay to their children!
The main course, an exquisite saddle of lamb, was served with red Crus Classés de Graves, while an ethereal Brie with truffles was accompanied by the magnificent Chateau Haut-Brion 1996, served in magnums to all the guests.
Accompanied by the Game of Thrones-style music, the wine service “ballet” was performed by the sommelier students from the CAFA and Talence wine schools. A delightful bit of fantasy to accompany a very elegant, highly successful evening!
Before returning to the Vieux Chais for the chef’s petits-fours and magnums of Laurent-Perrier 2004, all the members took to the stage to warmly thank chef Lallement for the extraordinary meal, which offered not only elegance and finesse but also delicious flavours and tremendous originality.
The evening ended in a warm, convivial atmosphere, the Bonnies, always attentive to detail, having made it their priority that their guests relax and enjoy themselves, with music provided by a joyful gospel group, under the stars of a beautiful May night.
About Château Malartic-Lagravière
Since 1997, Alfred and Michèle Bonnie, and their children Véronique and Jean-Jacques, now co-owners, have devoted themselves with energy and passion to the ongoing improvement of Château Malartic-Lagravière’s wines. The Bonnies and their team produce complex, balanced, elegant wines of such precision that they can be compared to the world of “haute couture”. Located on a terroir whose quality has been recognized for centuries, the property, initially owned by the family of Comte Hippolyte Maurès de Malartic, was known as the Domaine de La Gravière until 1850, after which it took its current name of Château Malartic-Lagravière. Built in the 18th century, three families watched over its destiny until its acquisition by Alfred and Michèle, who have restored it and improved the wines to an exceptionally high standard.
The Bonnies, accompanied by their team, also have a passionate commitment to the land. This intense involvement has evolved into a philosophy. A vision that was pursued from a very early stage, with a constant quest for innovation, even in very traditional techniques, ranging from horse-drawn ploughing to intra-plot management, accompanied by a strong environmental commitment, reflected in a rigorous eco-chapter, HEV certification and the adoption of biodynamic methods.
About Arnaud Lallement
Born in 1974, Arnaud began his career at the hotel school in Strasbourg where he revealed his true passion: cuisine. He entered the family business, the Assiette Champenoise in Reims, founded by his father in 1975, and took over management of the kitchen in 2000. He was awarded his first Michelin star in 2001. In 2014 he entered the highly elite circle of three-star chefs, and was voted “Chef of the Year” by the Gault et Millau guide. Contemporary and voluptuous, Arnaud Lallement’s cuisine resonates with his native Champagne. “Behind each dish, there is always a story of men and women with whom I share a passion for products of exceptional quality”. This is a passion that Arnaud also shares with his family, constantly paying tribute to his father’s memory, as reflected in his signature dish Homard bleu de mon père (“My father’s lobster”).
About the Crus Classés de Graves
The Crus Classés de Graves consist of 14 properties, that include the prestigious Château Haut-Brion. These family properties, that lie on the outskirts of the city in Bordeaux’s oldest wine-producing area, were brought together in the 1953 INAO Graves classification, which treats red and white wines separately. Jean-Jacques Bonnie has been President of the Union of Graves Crus Classés since 2015; he is also co-owner of Château Malartic-Lagravière. Château Malartic-Lagravière is classified for both its red and white wines.